No one can argue that the Golden Retriever is one of the most beautiful, most handsome dogs in the world. With its elegant wavy golden locks cascading down its well-proportioned body like some magnificent and mesmerizing water falls, the Golden is such a beauty to behold. We’d truly understand if you want a miniature version of this hound as its size can be quite formidable especially to families with little kids. Well, somebody is obviously listening as the world is now graced with the same characteristics of the Golden Retriever, but in a much smaller frame. The Golden Cocker Retriever is not a genetic fluke, mind you. It’s a wonderful cross between two amazing breeds – a Cocker Spaniel and a Golden Retriever – to give you one of the world’s most charming forever puppy hybrid dogs.
History of the Mini Golden Retriever
Most people will say that the Golden Cocker Retriever (GCR) is a relatively new creation, possibly created in the 1990s to the 2000s. However, you should understand that they are mostly basing their assumptions on the general observation that designer dog breeds grew in popularity around this time. Just because it is popular in the 1990s or 2000s doesn’t mean it was also created in the same period. It is possible that the GCR has been around since the early 80s.
But of course, that’s just us putting forward our best guess. If you have an idea of when, who, or where the Golden Cocker Retriever was created, we’re pretty sure our dear readers would also like to find out.
The GCR is a cross between two different breeds. Now this is where it gets tricky. We’ve tried looking for credible sources as to when the hybrid was first created. We couldn’t find any. We did find conflicting accounts on what is the possible combination of the designer dog breed.
You see, there’s no problem with the Golden Retriever as you only have one very distinct breed. But when you talk about the Cocker Spaniel, you are looking at two different types – the English Cocker Spaniel and the American Cocker Spaniel. Here’s the thing. The English Cocker Spaniel is widely called the Cocker Spaniel. However, people in the US also call the American Cocker Spaniel as Cocker Spaniel. As such, without information as to the very first Golden Cocker Retriever, we will never really know what comprises the other half of the GCR.
Does it even matter? Well, it does. You see, the ACS is smaller than the ECS. So, if the breeder wanted to create a really small version of a Golden Retriever, then he should choose the American variant. But then, this will pose another challenge. Mating an American Cocker Spaniel to a Golden Retriever means mating a 15.5-inch tall male ACS (maximum height) to a 21.5-inch female Golden (minimum height). The Golden Retriever should always be female since it is bigger and heavier than the Cocker Spaniel. The best way to address this is to use an English Cocker Spaniel since the male maxes out at 17 inches.
Choosing an English Cocker Spaniel to be mated to a Golden Retriever seems sound at first. But then, there’s also the question of whether the breeder is using a show strain or a working strain of Cocker Spaniel. Using a working strain of Cocker Spaniel can introduce the dog’s hunting instincts into the GCR. This can spell bad news especially for children. As such, it is important to use a show strain Cocker Spaniel in the creation of the Golden Cocker Retriever.
As always, this is just our best guess. You’re more than welcome to share with us your thoughts.
There are many reasons why the Golden Retriever and the Cocker Spaniel make a good combination. Both are easily trainable, very playful, and possess a gentle temperament. They love playing in water, too. Both are child- and stranger-friendly and are very affectionate and loyal of their families. Both are venerable hunters, too. The only difference is that one is bigger.
Who are the Parents?
People call the Golden Cocker Retriever as the forever puppy since it is able to retain the boyish, or should we say the puppyish, good looks of the Golden Retriever in a small Cocker Spaniel frame. But before we look deeper into the forever puppy, let’s try looking at its parents first.
The original Cocker Spaniel was bred primarily to hunt. It is believed that they have existed even before the 13th to 14th century, having been mentioned as ‘spaynels’ in various literature. There are different types of spaniels, although they can be classified as either land-based or water-based. Interestingly, one of the progenitors of the Golden Retriever is a water spaniel so it wouldn’t be a surprise why people would breed a spaniel with a golden retriever. They are called ‘cockers’ because they specifically hunted a wading type of bird known as the woodcock.
The Golden Retriever may have set the standards for what we call kid-friendly breeds, but the Cocker Spaniel beats it when it comes to the most beloved hound. Gentle, sweet-natured, and affectionate, the Cocker Spaniel came with just the right body size for hugging and cuddling. It has these soft expressive eyes that can surely melt anyone’s heart. It has the same soft and wavy coat as the Golden Retriever that commands extra effort in grooming.
Intelligent and very trusting, the Cocker Spaniel can be easily trained and socialized, too. It can live peacefully with other pets whether they’re cats, birds, or even other dogs. But this is possible only with early socialization. Cocker Spaniels are playful and love being around kids. They are easily trained. But be forewarned, this dog has a very sensitive soul. Treat it harshly and you’ll see storm clouds forming on the horizon.
This is where the dark side of the Cocker Spaniel comes in. Affectionate as it may be, when not in the mood, it can be noisy, unstable, very nervous, and are very challenging to housetrain. In many instances, a Cocker Spaniel that is at its worst can unleash its predatory instincts. If playing with kids, this can easily translate into snapping and biting.
The ‘golden boy’ of the dog world, there’s no doubting the elegance of the Golden Retriever. Like the Cocker Spaniel, it comes with a smooth-flowing, albeit wavy coat that is nice to the touch. Children and adults alike simply cannot have enough hugging, snuggling, and cuddling with this breed. They have this sweetness in their personality that is loved by anyone and the dog loves them in return.
It’s the perfect family dog. Golden Retrievers are highly active and playful hounds that will readily retrieve a ball or a Frisbee or anything that you can dish out. As such, they are best reserved for folks who love to exercise or at least venture outdoors for some really intense workout. There’s no questioning the loyalty of the Golden Retriever. Its love of people is admirable, although to a fault. This is one of those breeds that will become severely anxious or depressed if left alone for a long time.
There are two types of Golden Retrievers, mostly classified according to their principal functions. There are the quintessential Teddy Bears of the show ring and those that are bred specifically for work. And when it comes to the performance of one’s duties, you will never doubt the Golden’s dedication. They’re the favorite among therapeutic clinics and organizations, military and law enforcement organizations, and other groups that may have a need for the Golden Retriever’s biddable and intelligent nature.
The Golden Retriever’s passion for life is hardly ever surpassed by any other breed. They have a smiling face that looks even more dashing on their sun-kissed coat. When well-bred, however, this is never a good guard dog as it can be friends even with total strangers.
They don’t call the Golden Retriever Cocker Spaniel Mix the forever puppy for nothing. And here are some quick facts to prove just that.
- At just 15 to 17 inches tall, this is definitely the very first Mini Golden Retriever. However, because the real MGR also includes the Poodle in its gene pool, we’ll just call this the Golden Cocker Retriever.
- It isn’t as light as a toy or small dog, but it is light enough at only 30 to 45 pounds.
- GCRs live up to 12 years, barring any untoward incidents and serious health problems.
- It’s got deep-set, almond-shaped eyes.
- The face is somewhere between the shape and size of its parents’ heads.
- The ears are typically that of the Cocker Spaniel, long and drooping.
- It comes with a water-resistant, smooth, silky, and wavy double-coat.
- The most common colors of the coat are cream and golden, although it’s possible to get chocolate, black, white, red, and merle.
Things You Should Know
The Golden Cocker Retriever seems like the perfect pet to have in one’s family. Check out the following before making any decisions whether to get a GCR or not.
Like its parents, the GCR is biddable, provided you know how to encourage and motivate it without ever using harsh methods. While it is intelligent, the GCR can be extremely sensitive, too. It doesn’t like being yelled at or being punished. It loves to please and will almost do anything to win your approval. That being said, it is best to observe a reward system to encourage it to learn the things you want it to. Housetraining the GCR is important. Learning the different obedience commands can also make it a lot easier to establish order in your home.
Be firm and assertive, but always know when to temper it with kindness and gentleness. If you try to use any of the harsh methods, punish it, or even yell at it, you’ll find the GCR to be exceptionally stubborn. So, if you’re not sure about the correct way of training dogs you’d better get a professional to do it for you. Just make sure, though, that you will also try to learn how to train them eventually.
One of the drawbacks of a Golden Retriever is that it tends to be a glutton. There are plenty of stories of how this intelligent and resourceful dog can easily open refrigerators and empty it within minutes. Leftovers on the table can be easily devoured in a flash. We’re not saying that the GCR will be the same. However, it is best to be especially cautious as being glutton can also lead to obesity. Unless you don’t mind having a fat dog in your home, then you’d have to be very vigilant about what you give to the GCR.
Golden Cocker Retrievers don’t need that much food. A 40-lb GCR should do well with a 900- to 1000-calorie per day diet. You can feed it 300 to 350 calories per meal 3 times a day. It is often better to feed it more frequently but in significantly lesser amounts than giving a single meal. You might also need to consider getting food portion control devices to help maintain healthier weight for the GCR.
It may be smaller than the Golden Retriever, but this doesn’t mean the GCR will no longer require as much exercise as its parents. It still does. Daily walks for about an hour or so are often enough, although if you can take it for a stroll, hike, trek, or even swim, then it will be a lot better. Exercise can provide a lot of benefits for dogs. For the GCR especially, this can keep it feeling left out or not being cared for.
Playtime is also important for the GCR. You’d be glad that it doesn’t have the size of the Golden Retriever, making it exceptionally easy to play with kids. If you have a spacious yard you can simply let everyone have a good time running around, playing catch, or even running through an improvised obstacle course.
The GCR is a very friendly designer dog. However, if a working strain of Cocker Spaniel was used in the crossbreeding process, you’d have to be very cautious when the dog is playing or interacting with little children or even other pets. Some owners of the GCR have observed that it has the tendency to snap and even bite kids when they catch it in a bad mood. This is one of the things that even early socialization cannot effectively address since the behavior is already deeply-ingrained in the genes of the dog.
Regardless, the GCR is still a very friendly dog when in its best. To make sure that it stays this way, it should be socialized – brought to the dog park, allowed to interact with other dogs and other pets, and get acquainted with all sorts of people – as a puppy.
It doesn’t shed that much, but the GCR still needs frequent and regular brushing of its coat if you don’t want to be bothered by tangles and mats later on. Coat brushing is also a good way to keep the silky shine and smoothness of its coat. It’s up to you when you want to give it a bath, but it shouldn’t be more frequent than once monthly so as to preserve the natural oils of the skin.
As always, brushing its teeth is necessary and you should do this at least 3 times a week. Trimming the nails once a month and cleaning its ears once a week are also important parts of the GCR’s grooming.
Hip dysplasia, bloat, kidney disease, glaucoma, cataract, entropion, and luxating patellas are just some of the more common health conditions that can be expected from a GCR. Remember, regardless of what they tell you, no dog is ever free from disease whether it is purebred or crossbreed.
The Golden Cocker Retriever is perfect for…
- Couples, individuals, and families with kids
- Persons who know how to train and socialize dogs the correct way
- Folks who enjoy exercises, lots of playtime, and plenty of outdoor activities
- Those who will never hurt their dog or even yell at it
Don’t get a GCR if you…
- Are just going to leave the GCR alone in your house for extended periods of time
- Hate daily casual walks or any other physical activity
There are plenty of reasons why the Golden Cocker Retriever is typically known as the forever puppy. It may not be as small as a toy dog, but it is still a bundle of joy with its exuberant, passionate, carefree, and energetic personality. It has this interesting mix of quirks, antics, and intelligence that will keep you smiling and laughing on your tummy. It is very friendly even to strangers, a trait it got from its Golden Retriever parent. However, it has a behavior that can be quite worrisome. Some GCRs are known to snap and bite even the kids or other pets of their families. But this typically only happens when they’re not in a good mood.
The Golden Cocker Retriever’s loving and affectionate nature is something that people love about this hybrid. And with that puppyish look that never seems to grow old, it is easy to give lots of love to this mutt and expect love in return, a hundredfold.